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EghtesadOnline: The Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare’s Statistics and Strategic Data Center has recently published a special report on child population, literacy and labor in Iran.

The report shows 16,966,712 persons were in the 6-19 age-group in the fiscal 2017-18, of whom 51.6% were boys and 48.4% girls. This population had increased from 16,417,295 in the fiscal 2015-16 to 16,665,518 in the fiscal 2016-17. 

In this age-group, 98.5% were literate in the fiscal 2016-17, of whom 51.6% were boys and 48.4% girls. A total of 1,682,346 dropped out of the education system that year, of whom 46.4% were boys and 53.6% girls. A total of 246,288 or 1.5% of children were illiterate, of whom 49.6% were boys and 50.4% girls. 

About 499,000 out of 9 million Iranian children of ages 10 to 17 were economically active (working or looking for job) in the year ending March 20, 2018. The figure indicates an increase of 9.6% compared with the year ending March 2016 and a rise of 6% over the year ending March 2017, according to Financial Tribune.

About 410,000 of economically active kids were employed in the fiscal 2017-18, indicating an increase of 10.2% and 11.5% in the number of employed children compared with fiscal 2015-16 and 2016-17, respectively.  

A total of 89,000 economically active kids in the fiscal 2017-18 were seeking a job, which term is used instead of unemployment by the International Labor Organization when talking about child labor. It shows a 7% increase compared with the fiscal 2015-16 and a decline of 13.8% over the fiscal 2016-17. 

Boys, the report says, face a greater risk of child labor than girls, but this may also be a reflection of an under-reporting of girls’ work, particularly in the domestic labor market.

In the fiscal 2017-18, labor force participation rate of children between 10 and 17 years saw a 0.8% rise compared with March 2015-16 and a 0.2% increase compared with the fiscal 2016-17 to stand at 5.4%. 

children seeking a job in this age-group stood at, registering a decline of 0.9% compared with two years before and a 4.1% decrease over the preceding year.  

Between 2015 and 2017, the rates of girls seeking a job (21.1%, 26.4% and 22.9%) have been higher whereas boys had higher labor force participation rates (7.3%, 8% and 8.5%) during these years. 

The ministry’s Statistical Center estimates that out of 378,119 child laborers between 10 and 17 in the fiscal 2017-18, 82.3% were boys and 17.7% were girls. 

“Agriculture, forestry and fishing” sector employed 29.3% of child laborers, mining sector 0.03%, manufacturing 19.5%, electricity, steam and air ventilation (0.08%), water supply, waste management and refining (0.5%), construction (12.7%) and sectors classified as “other” employed 37.8% of child laborers that year. 

ILO categorizes construction and mining as sectors that jeopardize the physical, mental or moral well-being of a child and are considered hazardous. 

It is estimated that 551 Iranian children, only boys, between 10 and 17 were working in mines in the fiscal 2015-16. The figure decreased by 49.1% to reach 143 in the fiscal 2017-18. The number of children working in the construction sector increased from 47,357 in the fiscal 2015-16 to 52,289 in the fiscal 2017-18, indicating a 5.1% rise. 

A total of 120,329 kids were working in the agriculture, forestry and fishing sector in 2017-18, up 3.3% compared with 112,845 in the fiscal 2015-16. 



Global Perspective

ILO estimates that worldwide 218 million children between five and 17 years are in employment. Among them, 152 million are victims of child labor and almost half of them, 73 million, worked in hazardous jobs.

In absolute terms, almost half of child labor (72.1 million) is to be found in Africa; 62.1 million in the Asia and the Pacific; 10.7 million in the Americas; 1.2 million in Arab states and 5.5 million in Europe and Central Asia.

In terms of prevalence, one in five children in Africa (19.6%) are in child labor, while prevalence in other regions is between 3% and 7%: 2.9% in the Arab States (1 in 35 children); 4.1% in Europe and Central Asia (1 in 25); 5.3% in the Americas (1 in 19) and 7.4% in the Asia and Pacific region (1 in 14).

Almost half of all 152 million children working as child laborers are of ages 5-11. A total of 42 million (28%) are 12-14 years old and 37 million (24%) are 15-17 years old.

Hazardous child labor is most prevalent among the 15-17 years old. Nevertheless, up to a fourth of all hazardous child labor (19 million) is handled by children under 12 years.

Among 152 million children in child labor, 88 million are boys and 64 million are girls.

Up to 58% of all children working as child laborers and 62% of all children in hazardous work are boys. 

Child labor is concentrated primarily in agriculture (71%), which includes fishing, forestry, livestock herding and aquaculture, and comprises both subsistence and commercial farming; 17% in services; and 12% in the industrial sector, including mining.


Iran Child Laborers child population literacy labor